11 September 2011
Post-race press conference - Italian GP - Pt.1
Sebastian, you only need, I believe, a podium in Singapore to be crowned a two-time World Champion at the age of 24. Thoughts on that?
No thoughts. Wow. I don't know. It has been an incredible year so far to be honest. We have progressed so much as a team and have become so much stronger in the last two years and again from last year to this year made such an incredible step. I think we have put ourselves in a very good position. But I love racing. We enjoy racing as a team altogether every weekend, unpacking the car, you can see the passion and it is great. You can feel the challenge. We want to make sure that we have a very good weekend and we squeeze everything out of ourselves. Of course, it is very nice to win but if we have a good Sunday and we finish third or fifth still you feel that we are very good in optimising the result so I don't know really. I think we just do Singapore as we did all the other races this year. Go there and take it step-by-step and see what we can do. I love the circuit. It is very interesting. I remember I had a nice race there with Fernando, obviously to his advantage, as he finished first but it was great. I think we had a tough race there. It is a long circuit so I am looking forward and we will see what happens then.
Sebastian, three years between your first ever win here and this one and yet the emotion is just as great.
Yeah, obviously the first one was very special. Incredible. To be back here, especially on this circuit, given the memories I have for 2008 and the last two years, where we had a great car but not here. Not disastrous but not competitive enough to be back on the podium, so this year has been phenomenal. Friday already I had a very good feeling. Everyone is carrying quite a little wing around here to optimise the speed on the straight and I think this year the balance was fantastic so I really had a very good race car. Fantastic day today. Great race. The start wasn't that ideal. I don't know where Fernando came from and it took me a while to understand it was three cars going side-by-side down to turn one. After that, a great pass. Not that much room but very enjoyable. very hard but fair so great to be back in the lead and from then onwards the car was fantastic. I was able to pull a big gap and benefit from that for the whole rest of the race. Incredible. It is the best podium in the world. The only thing that could make it better is probably wearing a red suit but all in all great to be back on the podium here.
The car performance was good, but tyre performance. Was there much difference between the two types. Did you feel there was any loss of pace?
No, I preferred the soft tyre to be fair. I think it was a little bit quicker. Not just initially but all the way through but we have to use both compounds. The medium worked similar to Spa. Quite good. I think the pace was not that much slower, so for all of us we had no big problems. The pace seemed to be… seemed to have the usual progression when you burned down the fuel, so no problems from that side. Last race in Spa we were struggling big time with blistering and all sorts of tyre issues and this race it seemed to be very good for us whereas others had some problems I was told but for us, as I said, tyre-wise very smooth race.
Jenson, just talk a little bit more when you were behind Lewis and Michael as that was a great battle and you had the best seat in the house?
Yeah, it wasn't too bad. At the start of the race I knew I had to catch them. The problem was Lewis is in the DRS one behind Michael so they just pull away massively on the straight and I have to close on them at the corners. It was tricky to catch them but when I did all hell broke loose really. There were cars everywhere. It was a lot of fun. I think Lewis went for a gap with Michael that wasn't there on the exit of turn two and I got the run on him and then set about getting past Michael. I got a really good run out of the second Lesmo and I was able to get him down the outside down into Ascari which I am going to say was pretty brave as Michael doesn't give much room. I don't know how close we were. I didn't look at the mirrors. I pretty much closed my eyes after I turned in but it ended up good and the pace was good. I could chase down Fernando. But I would rather form now on not race from a long way back. It makes it fun. I don't know if we could have challenged Sebastian today, but you are that far down, sixth, seventh position, you haven't got a chance really. A pity we had such a poor start but we will look at that for the next race. It is a little issue but it can cost you a lot of time. Apart from that I think we did a great job at the pit stops and strategy and it is great to get a second but you always want a bit more.
You caught Fernando before the tyre stop and then seemed to drop back away from him. Tell us about that?
It is this weird thing with the DRS. Our car here is not very quick in a straight line. Just the strategy we have taken as Lewis found out as well. We get to a point on the straight and we just don't go anywhere. We sit on the limiter so it is very, very tough. Then I made a mistake through Ascari, Fernando pulled a gap, and then I just couldn't get any closer after that. On the hard tyre I think Fernando was struggling for grip after the pit-stop, made a little mistake out of two, and I was able to get the run on him and that's the good thing about KERS. You can really catch people out if they make a mistake. Made the move and then it was about trying to break the DRS. that's the biggest thing. Even if you are quicker, the guys tows up to you and you can't get away so it was a tense moment but I eventually pulled the gap and then it was easy to settle into a pace.
Fernando, have to say you fought for everything today. You seemed to fight harder than ever before. What sort of fight would Lewis have had at the end if he'd caught you as he got very close.
Yeah, I think it was close. One or two more laps and probably we lose the podium position as he was much quicker than us in the last couple of laps. We were a little bit lucky with Michael and Lewis's battle in the race as Lewis lost maybe 10 or 15 seconds in those battles during the first 30 laps and we managed that gap. Definitely it was an interesting race, especially the start. It was again very good and here in Monza we exploit the potential as turn one is a long way and we knew the potential. I think the race was quite smooth for us with no big problems and in the last stint, as we are unfortunately used to, with the medium tyres we were less competitive, and Jenson overtook us and as I said Hamilton was getting very close.
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